it’s the hill of ants, making a home across your skin. it’s the grease in your stomach, concrete finally setting in. and just when you think that you’re fine, you’re okay, you’re better this time… it finds you. and god, it digs in.
eats you up, a little bit. my fingers shake, my jaw hurts. i think i’m gonna vomit. so i drink some water, and i turn my headphones all the way up. this can’t be it…
so i push it away, until i can’t do that anymore. until i’m some kind of ghost, drifting through the walls until my ribcage turns hollow, and it’s all my fault somehow, don’t you see?
i am small, and alone, turning to dust already, as the sky turns red, and the river slips down my throat.
fifteen years old.
the number is clunky, and cold. it doesn’t feel like my own.
you say that it’s gonna be all right. cup my cheeks in your hands; promise sunshine and riches beyond my wildest dreams, your wish is my command.
so i’ll be pixie dust and moonrise, slipping off your fingertips. you build me a kingdom, and it’s nice. to live on a monopoly board, where money comes easy, and so does hope. to dance around my room, singing into a hairbrush so loud i forget that i’m alone.
and i know it’s so silly, and i’ll laugh at myself later. but i don’t really care. because right now, i’m dust in the wind, i’m the city at night, i’m the fire in your bones. i stumble through the chords with my eyes closed.
piece together a soft, slow melody like a puzzle. and it’s messy, and confusing, it’s nails into my heart, and it keeps going. even when i don’t want it to. even when i’m tired, and furious at the world. calls me small, and insignificant. and maybe it’s right. maybe we’re all fucking screwed, sandcastle civilizations and morning dew.
a cry for help, and a bleeding wound. maybe it hurts sometimes. maybe there will always be days, when i feel like i’m going to die. but i’ve done this, a million times over. learned every creaky floorboard of the haunted house inside my mind. talked it down, and unwound its knotted threads.
so i’ll take my worst nightmares out to tea. let them hold my hand, and cry. and it’s scary, and confusing, and i don’t know what i’m doing. but i think i have to try.
i’m disappointed, but i’m not surprised. because i’ve ridden this bus route a thousand times, memorized each twist and turn. i know this hurt with my eyes closed.
so i keep band-aids in my back pocket. and that’s not a pretty metaphor, i mean it. i hide in my bedroom, until there’s nothing left but ash and bones. one final mess to clean up, i suppose.
i’m sorry. because i’m always sorry, and the word slides off my lips like water, when i don’t even mean it, just another fucking force of habit, you know?
and in my head, it’s a grand battle; violin bravado. but in reality, it’s just… a stuffy classroom, burning eyes, and a day that never ends. and the path of least resistance might be bloodstained and dirty, but right now it’s hard to give a shit.
so i burn my tongue on scalding tea, until i can’t think, can’t breathe, and i saw it coming a mile away, didn’t i? watch myself wither in third person, and bite back a scream. because what if it doesn’t get better? what if i live out my days like this, for the rest of eternity?
what if the fairy tale outgrows me? what if someday, even my favourite t-shirt is tired and old, what if the glass breaks, and i’m left to reckon a the sinkhole. and what if can’t do it?
i remember: this day one year ago. the way the dizzying night sky rolled out around me, like a legend aching to be told. how we named the constellations, just like in my stories. and it felt like a dream, or something. maybe it was. i don’t know.
i remember chocolate birthday cake, and long walks through the city, and now you’re crying in my arms and i don’t know what to do; can’t tell the difference between holding a bird in my palms and crushing its wings. but we’re gonna work something out, i promise you.
i remember it all cast in gold, because it’s easy, and it’s so beautiful. until i look out my window, and the grass isn’t greener—it’s ashy and yellow, starved out by the cold.
but i remember the hungry forest as a lark in the park, and the smoke in my lungs as a warm embrace. which is something i’m working on, okay?
i remember orange juice and board games; counting down the seconds, ’til the january fog crept in, and swallowed me whole.
i can’t promise you the world. but i can say… that i’ll try my best. that i will never give up, or break a promise. and i’m still learning, how to cry and breathe and rest. but it’ll come to me, eventually. just… gonna need some practise.
I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks of late. I grew up on a steady diet of BBC documentaries, TED talks, Ideas, and Tapestry–my parents’ two favourite shows on CBC radio. (If you’re Canadian, you know what I’m talking about.) I remember, how when I was little, I always got dragged up to do these skiing lessons–which, let’s be honest, I was objectively terrible at. (One time, I just lay on my back in the snow, and cried for like fifteen minutes because I didn’t know how to get up, and I thought I was going to have to break my skis to rescue myself.)
But on the long ride home, I’d always lean against the window, and draw little shapes in the fog my breath made, tired and relieved, and listen to the hour-long programs on Tapestry, captivated. I always fantasized, that one day, I would be one of the people on the shows. That I’d tell people something true, and important–even if I didn’t know quite what that was at the time. To be honest, something I’ve been learning about myself of late is that… I really like learning. Not in the way we do at school–memorizing facts and dates, and constantly worrying about tests and grades. I like listening to people; seeing through their eyes, learning their stories.
As a result, I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks! And it’s been making me happy, and they’re all weirdly calming? These are some of my favourites so far!
Ok, I’ll be honest: I’ve been listening to Dylan Marron’s podcast, Conversations With People Who Hate Me for a while! It’s one of my favourite comfort shows–although sometimes, it does take a bit of processing after I listen. His voice is really calming to listen to, and he’s always so kind, empathetic, and overall just seems like a really lovely person. I’ve been meaning to watch his TED talk for a really long time, and I finally got around to it a few nights ago.
For those of you who don’t know, Dylan Marron makes a lot of content online–discussing racism, transphobia, etc. Long story short, he got a lot of positive feedback on it… and also a lot of hate. Conversations With People Who Hate Me was created as a coping mechanism for him to deal with these online trolls. In each episode, he interviews people who have left him online hate–and as the show goes on, he takes on mediating other people’s online discourse as well.
What I love about the show is that it gives the listener a safe place to feel their feelings, in a productive way. His whole mantra is “empathy, not endorsement”–you can recognize that person’s views are unacceptable, and that you disagree with them and will continue to fight against them, and also recognize that they are a human being.
With everything going on right now, it feels like such a dangerous thing to empathize with other people, at least for me–because there’s so much suffering in the world, it gets overwhelming. This show is just a little safe place for me, where the world doesn’t quite feel so overwhelming.
Anyhow, this is a really interesting talk, you should watch it! And listen to the podcast!
This is really interesting, and definitely very relevant to me right now. (Honestly, it kinda made me get a little misty-eyed, because… yeah, wow.)
This whole talk basically just debunks the myth that by pushing past, denying, ignoring, or bottling up your feelings, you become a stronger person. As well, unlike a lot of talks on this stuff, it discusses tangible steps to unlearn bad habits, and accept and work with your feelings. I found it really helpful, and interesting, so, yeah, give it a watch!
So, for some reason, I couldn’t get this talk to embed via the ted.com URL–but here’s the YouTube video, I assure you it’s the exact same talk, and it’s still as good as it is on the original website, the platform is just less aesthetically pleasing.
This talk is, honestly, kind of my entire life explained in 14 minutes and 20 seconds. It’s funny, and honest, and real. I don’t see a lot of discussion around, well, the fact that anxiety doesn’t always present the way people commonly perceive, and that often mental illness truly is invisible to the outside observer. And that you can be incredibly successful, and a productive member of society, and still be suffering. (Or maybe there is a lot of discussion around it, and I’m just not looking in the right places.) Anyhow, I really liked this talk, check it out if you want. 🙂
This whole talk really just came into my house, called me out, and left. If you’re a girl, I can’t imagine how this talk wouldn’t resonate with you, at least in some small way. Bottling up emotions is something I’ve really been struggling with of late, so even though it’s not a solution, this talk was definitely therapeutic to watch–it just felt like letting out a breath I’d been holding for a really long time.
And if you’re a guy reading this, and hopefully wanting to be an ally to women, this is a great talk to watch. Obviously, not the end-all-be-all, but it’s one more aspect of the way our society works right now that isn’t talked about enough, and isn’t really benefiting anyone involved in the long run.
Okay! I think that’s it! It’s getting pretty late, and I’m very tired, so I’m going to go to bed now, but I hope you enjoyed this post? And you check out some of these? I don’t know, do whatever you see fit with this post–and make sure to tune in next Saturday for more of me geeking out about… something. (Still working out my topic–I think it’s gonna be movies?)